Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
Member | Established: 1904 | Member since 1977
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is a global body for professional accountants with 188,000 members and 480,000 students in 178 countries. It was granted a Royal Charter in 1974 which commits it to acting in and upholding the public interest and it operates through a network of 100 offices and centers across the world. It holds recognition for statutory audit purposes in the UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Zimbabwe and for tax purposes in Australia and South Africa. In addition to IFAC membership, ACCA is represented on key regional forums including the ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA), the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA), the Federation of European Accountants (FEE), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC), the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), and is a member of CCAB in the UK and Ireland. It undertakes wide-ranging capacity building work globally and has an extensive network of partnerships with other professional accountancy organizations.
Statements of Membership Obligations (SMOs)
The Statements of Membership Obligations form the basis of the IFAC Member Compliance Program. They serve as a framework for credible and high-quality professional accountancy organizations focused on serving the public interest by adopting, or otherwise incorporating, and supporting implementation of international standards and maintaining adequate enforcement mechanisms to ensure the professional behavior of their individual members.
The ACCA, which shares responsibility for the quality assurance (QA) review system in the UK, has an established system for its members that fulfills the requirements of SMO 1. The association has long-standing policies and procedures in its Global Practicing Regulations that guide the QA review process, which it reviews periodically to ensure compliance with SMO 1 (2012). The association has ongoing practices to educate and support its members on quality control standards. It has developed an ISQC 1 guide, workshops, and other training initiatives.
The ACCA works closely with, and reports to, the national regulators in the UK and Ireland. Following a roundtable hosted by the Financial Reporting Council—the UK standard setter—in 2015 for the Recognized Supervisory Bodies to discuss effectiveness of existing plans and develop them further, the association has developed a new, rolling action plan to identify and rectify the causes of poor audit quality in weaker firms.
The association will consider developing and delivering road-shows for UK and Irish audit certificate holders to inform them about issues arising from other activities undertaken as part of the action plan. Furthermore, it has plans in 2016 to engage with the regulators on the possible implications of the EU Audit Directive and Regulation for its QA program. Based on the outcomes, the ACCA will develop and implement agreed changes as required.
Finally, the ACCA provides consultancy services to foreign regulators wishing to establish quality assurance schemes compliant with SMO 1. It has also been appointed by foreign regulators to provide quality assurance review services on their behalf.
The ACCA shares responsibility for initial and continuing professional education (IPD and CPD) for statutory auditors/accountants in the UK with the other Recognized Qualifying Bodies and the oversight body, the Financial Reporting Council. It maintains the compliance of its IPD and CPD requirements with IES requirements through the work of its Regulatory Board and its Qualifications Board. An external examiner verifies and reports to the Qualifications Board on the compliance of its examinations.
The association is currently working to ensure that its systems and processes are in line with the revisions to IES 8. The CPD declaration will be changed for the 2017 year end, and the ACCA is considering potential changes to its rulebook. Other initiatives include updating the relevant exams to include the International Integrated Reporting Framework, updating its Professional Ethics Module, and introducing a new policy on the content of its Practical Experience Requirements in line with IES 5.
The ACCA reviews all pronouncements issued by the IAESB, responds to Exposure Drafts, puts forward representatives to serve on the Board, assists task forces and working parties on IAESB initiatives, and publishes IAESB news for its members in its e-magazine. The association also supports the work of the IAESB through commissioning international research projects. It regularly consults with regulators, members, employers, learning providers, and students on syllabus, training requirements, and qualification changes.
Finally, the ACCA operates Joint Examinations Schemes with other IFAC members and/or potential members to allow them to adopt the ACCA's syllabus and examinations, which in turn assists them in meeting SMO 2.
The ACCA has no direct responsibility for audit standard setting in the UK, but exerts its best endeavors to support the adoption of all pronouncements issued by the IAASB. The association lobbies the UK and EU to adopt ISA, and responds to both IAASB and Financial Reporting Council Exposure Drafts. It also promotes adoption and development of IAASB standards through its work on the Audit and Assurance Policy Group of the Federation of European Accountants.
The ACCA further supports the adoption and standard-setting processes by gathering views from members through its website and Global Forums, commissioning research projects addressing issues of importance related to the work of the IAASB, and putting forward representatives to serve on the IAASB (as members and technical advisers) and its working parties.
The association provides implementation support to its members by publishing details of IAASB pronouncements and related articles in its journal and including updates in relevant sections of its website. The ACCA includes ISA updates in its initial professional development and continuing professional development programs and exams, and offers an e-qualification in International Auditing based on the ISA pronouncements.
The ACCA has direct responsibility for adopting ethical requirements for its members (shared responsibility for the profession in UK). The association incorporates, on an ongoing basis, the IESBA Code of Ethics—in its entirety—into the ACCA Code of Ethics and Conduct. It adds guidance where necessary, for example, on money laundering and whistle blowing.
The ACCA incorporates ethics into all of its initial professional development and continuing professional development requirements, and members are given information via its various media, including publications, technical features, factsheets, e-magazines, and its website. All ACCA members have to successfully complete the ACCA Professional Ethics Module in addition to passing all the exams and completing the practical experience requirement before they may be permitted to become members.
The ACCA makes information available to its members about proposed, new, and revised pronouncements from the IESBA, and participates in the international standard-setting process by commenting on Exposure Drafts.
The ACCA supports the adoption and implementation process for strong public financial management in the UK, particularly through delivering qualifications for public sector professionals. The association lobbies the UK and EU for the adoption of IPSAS and to ensure that the decision to develop European Public Sector Standards will produce standards that are as closely aligned to IPSAS as practicably possible.
The ACCA responds to Exposure Drafts of pronouncements issued by the IPSASB and solicits the views of its members through its website, the ACCA Public Sector Global Forum, and the Financial Reporting Global Forum. It publishes details of IPSASB pronouncements through its member magazines, email news, and technical bulletins. The association supports implementation of high-quality public financial management by offering continuing professional development courses to its members.
The ACCA maintains an investigative and disciplinary system for its members, firms, and affiliates that meets all SMO 6 (2012) requirements. In 2014, the association’s Professional Conduct Department was restructured into three separate departments: the Assessment Department, the Investigations Department, and the Adjudication Department. The restructure has provided the ACCA with greater oversight of each stage of the investigative and disciplinary process.
The ACCA maintains a Rulebook, guidance materials for members and complainants, and Guideline Disciplinary Sanctions to provide support for its members and the public in dealing with its I&D system. The association provides a Conciliation Service as part of its scheme to enable disputes between members and clients to be resolved swiftly by allowing minor breaches to be dealt with through Alternative Dispute Resolution.
The ACCA operates a Regulatory Board with a lay majority to provide internal oversight of its disciplinary and regulatory activities. It reports regularly to the Board and the UK’s Financial Reporting Council’s Oversight Team, the regulator that oversees statutory auditors. The association publishes the results of its cases.
To ensure effective and efficient management of its I&D system, the ACCA maintains a case management system and a centralized database as a record of cases and all actions taken. The association regularly reports to management and externally on processing times and other scheduling data. The ACCA takes additional steps of maintaining an outsourcing fund to manage spikes in relation to Case Presentation resource capacity, and it employs independent legal advisers for regulatory and disciplinary hearings. Furthermore, it performs an annual review of the scheme’s compliance with the Human Rights Act, natural justice, and best practice.
The association provides implementation support to its members by incorporating lessons learned from the I&D system into continuing professional development (CPD), articles, and technical factsheets on common complaint areas. The CPD system incorporates online tests to ensure members demonstrate necessary competencies.
The ACCA supports and promotes adoption and implementation of IFRS in the UK and in the EU. The association responds to IASB Exposure Drafts on new and revised pronouncements and solicits views from its members through its website, surveys, and its Corporate Reporting Global Forum.
The association provides implementation support to its members by publishing details of IASB pronouncements and related articles in its journal and including updates in relevant sections of its website. The ACCA includes IFRS updates in its initial professional development and continuing professional development programs and exams, and offers a certificate in IFRS and IFRS for SMEs. It also offers an IFRS certificate in Russian.
The ACCA also commissions research on topical IFRS issues. Recent studies in ACCA’s international research program have explored, for example, the quality of compliance with the standards dealing with business combinations and a companion guide for not-for-profits to use the IFRS for SMEs. Other recent research-led activity includes surveys of CFOs and investors on global standards and how they are using annual reports.
Furthermore, the association works with foreign regulators and standard setters on the adoption and implementation of IFRS or convergence with IFRS.
IFAC bears no responsibility for the information provided in the SMO Action Plans prepared by IFAC member organizations. Please see our full Disclaimer for additional information.